LifeisXbox’s ‘Retromania Wrestling‘ review | Video games and wrestling have always been hand in hand and today, the most prevalent sagas, with their successes and failures, correspond to the WWE and the Japanese Fire Pro Wrestling, but back in the 90s, in that golden era of Hulk Hogan, a Technōs Japan title dominated the arcades: WWF Wrestlefest, an audiovisual delight that put the public’s favorite wrestlers on-screen with large sprites in a fantastic experience that could be enjoyed by up to four players simultaneously. Retrosoft Studios decided to make a sequel to that legendary title called Retromania Wrestling, while preserving aesthetics and modernizing certain playable and technical aspects without straying too far from the title it pays tribute to.
We played Retromania Wrestling for about 10 hours on Xbox Series X. This game is also available on PlayStation , Nintendo Switch and PC.
What we liked!
- A technical section that seems from that time | From the start menu, you will already know that you don’t need a time machine or a DeLorean to travel to the 90s, since the title will transport you to that mythical era in the blink of an eye. Beyond the amazing pixel art that the designers have managed to create and the different details of the settings, all the rest of the accompaniment sports a 90s aesthetic: the strident colors, the fighters’ clothes, the gestures and the provocations, wherever you look. the game presents you with a complete pack of nostalgia.
- A musical section that transports you to that golden age | The musical section that accompanies the playable experience with strident chiptune guitars that will make you increase your adrenaline during the fights, especially in competitions in which 6 fighters are beaten simultaneously on and off the ring. As far as sounds are concerned, the hits, falls, and general interactions with the settings feel very good and are well achieved, although the comments of the rapporteurs are a bit lost in the music and are quite repetitive.
- The perfect gameplay for this title | The developers opted for a very simple control system that in my opinion makes the game very enjoyable unlike other productions of the same discipline where pressing buttons constantly prevail as if the player were suffering extreme seizures. In Retromania Wrestling, we will have a button to run, a weak attack, a medium and a strong one, as well as a button to create “momentum”. Simple and effective.
- An excellent roster | For those who are not very immersed in the world of wrestling and others, they have to know that the main federation (or the most famous) is the WWF/WWE with which the game doesn’t have a contract so the roster of characters is a compendium of other personalities ranging from the legends of this sport to stars of the discipline without much renown. Legends include: The Legion of Doom, Nakita Koloff, Tommy Dreamer and The Blue World Order, while on the list of current fighters are Brian Myers (Ex-WWE’s “Curt Hawkins”), Colt Cobana (AEW), Johnny Retro (WWE’s John Morrison), Matt Cardona (Ex-WWE’s Zack Ryder) and Nick Aldis (NWA Champion).
- A wide variety of characters with different fighting styles | The range of attacks is extremely rich. Each fighter has his own move that represents his personality and reflects the techniques of real fighters. One of the few things against the gameplay that I can mention is that being a 2D game, many times a lot of precision is required to know in which line of the stage the opponent is, so on more than one occasion my double kicks and other blows passed my rival’s side without even tickling him.
- The game modes are few, but fun | The game modes include the story where after a very simple tutorial we will follow the revenge story of Johnny Retro and his search for the title to return to the peak. This section includes several options that will present us with different combats and paths where we can even betray our companions and attack them suddenly, which makes following the interactions and selecting different routes very interesting. In 10 Pounds of Gold, we will play one of the fighters to face several rivals with the sole objective of crowning ourselves as absolute champions and defending the title. A typical arcade mode that complies very well with what is proposed. Retro Rumble is a giant battle, a free-for-all where to crown ourselves it will be necessary to be the last fighter standing. An excellent game mode for a fast, intense and very fun battle. The Versus option only allows us to participate in battles with friends in local mode.
- The duration of the game is very short | This aspect is the one that needs the most work. The story can be finished in at most three hours and while it can be replayed to explore all the different options, it’s not something that attracts much attention and can stretch the experience just a few more hours, especially for what happens after finish the story mode that makes you believe that we will have new content soon and perhaps that will extend the experience much more.
- More game modes are needed | It would be vital for the game to remain in everyone’s heart, to incorporate a mode where you can create your own fighter with various custom features such as costumes and other things. An online mode is also a must and I am hopeful that Retrosoft Studios will include this in a future patch to be able to play a Retro Rumble with many other players.
What we disliked
- Cinematics take you out of the momentum of the game | The different game modes present cinematics at various times and although I think they add to the setting, it also seems to me that the cartoonish style with which the wrestlers are represented in that part doesn’t live up to the aesthetics of the rest of the title. . Personally, I think it would have been very good to keep the pixel art but with a more “serious” style if you like.
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